4 Investigates Alert: Scammers market fake rental listings
April 26, 2019 06:23 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The housing market is hot right now in Albuquerque and scammers know this. Now they’ve found a way to trick you out of your money with fake rental listings.
You've probably seen a few "for sale" signs in front of houses around your neighborhood. As we head deeper into the year, Greater Albuquerque Real Estate President John Lopez says you can expect to see a lot more of them.
"Market's phenomenal, we're on a growth pattern," Lopez said.
But let's say you're not quite ready to buy. Instead, you want to rent a house to have more space than an apartment and better sense of privacy. So like most things that you do nowadays, you look online for what's out there.
Before you do that, watch out.
"What we’re seeing here in Albuquerque and across the nation is these beautiful listings with great pictures but people are grabbing them off the MLS, off of Zillow, online platforms and putting them on Craigslist saying 'for rent,'" said Lopez.
Sound unsettling? We found a listing for an Albuquerque home on Moon Street Northeast. Part of an e-mail sent off by a scammer to someone who saw the listing on Craigslist reads: "I am so glad you are interested in my house for rent. My initial plan was to sell the house but I changed my mind and decided to rent it out."
Random words are capitalized in the email and the sender says his work transferred him out of state and he's renting out a three bedroom, 2 bath, house with utilities included all for $750 a month. Sounds too good to be true.
The poster also wants $750 upfront before he gets the keys to you.
"Very shocking," said Coldwell Banker Legacy Real Estate Agent Jamie Rivera who also says this happened to one of her clients who listed his house for sale.
"As soon as the house went on the market, they had people showing up at their door wanting to see the property saying that they say it on Craigslist and said it was for rent," said Rivera.
Rivera says she tried to reach out to the person who listed the fake rental.
"Somehow they're trying to obtain a deposit on the home," said Rivera.
But she never received a response and it's not just happening with long-term rentals. Lopez says this is also happening with short-term vacation rentals as scammers try to take advantage of summer break.
"For a few dollars less they’ll go ahead and send some money over to the person who has it marketed on Craigslist and they'll show up to find it's already being rented on VRBO or one of those other places," said Lopez.
So how do you stay on guard?
If it's a post online, be suspicious if there's no phone number to call, or if you can only get hold of someone by text or email. A Google search should reveal if the property is for sale.
And don't give out any money until you're sure everything passes the smell test.
For short term vacation rentals, be sure to read the customers reviews. If there are no reviews, or if the reviews seem fake, look for another place to stay.
Created: April 26, 2019 06:23 AM
Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved